Vietnam at risk of massive coral die-off due to El Nino: report

Thanh Nien News 17 Jun 16;

Warm water caused by El Nino is being suspected of bleaching around one quarter of coral reefs off Vietnam's famous resort island Con Dao, making them vulnerable to a massive die-off, local media reported on Friday.

The bleaching started in March and has affected around 400-500 hectares of coral reefs, the Vietnam News Agency said, citing the management board of Con Dao National Park.

The report did not mention if human activities were also to blame.

Con Dao, about 97 sea miles off the popular beach town of Vung Tau, is one of the favorite diving destinations in Vietnam.

Corals are often bleached when warm water causes them to expel the algae living in their tissues. While they can still survive the bleaching, they will die when the algae loss prolongs.

At least eight coral reefs areas for have been hit by bleaching such as those around the Con Son Bay and Tai Island, according to the management board.

Con Dao reported coral bleaching in 1998 and 2010, according to the news report.


El Nino causes coral bleaching in Con Dao islands
El Nino-triggered coral bleaching has spread to approximately one fourth of coral reef areas across waters around Con Dao Islands off the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau since March.
Vietnam net news 19 Jun 16;

According to the management board of the Con Dao national park, eight major areas – including Con Son bay, Dam Tre and Hon Tre Lon seas – are suffering, and bleaching gathered the highest speed in May.

The weather phenomenon causing the water surface to become unusually warmer has so far affected up to 500 hectares of local coral reefs, with an average of between 30 and 40 percent of corals in hit areas bleached.

Bleaching makes corals stunted and particularly prone to diseases and reproduction vulnerability; in severe cases, it kills them.

Study from the board’s maritime conservation department showed that most of Porites, round-shaped Fungiidae and Poritidae corals in these locations were completely bleached and at high risk of dying.

Pocillopora corals, meanwhile, mostly saw bleaching on their branches, with Algae colours still spotted on their core bodies.

However, the Pocillopora corals would die eventually, if the heated condition persists.

In 1998 and 2010, bleaching also took place in Con Dao, with some coral areas unable to recover naturally.
VNA

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